Talking Points: Chara rises to occasion vs. Coyotes
Zdeno Chara can still play some very good hockey at 40 years old, and he put that on full display Saturday night in Arizona with the B’s badly in need of a win. Chara created a key first period goal by firing a heavy shot at the net that caromed into the net off David Pastrnak’s leg, and then continued to pour on the offense in the second period with a rebound goal and a primary assist on a face-off play that led to a Brad Marchand breakaway goal. Chara finished with a goal and three points along with a plus-3 rating in 20:18 of ice time, and had an active eight shot attempts and three hits in his best game of the year. Clearly at this stage of his career Chara can’t do this every night, but he can still rise to the occasion in a big way when the Bruins need him.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a power play goal in the third period to provide a little offense for the Coyotes, but he also finished a minus-2, and his now a team-worst minus-9 through five games. How does a player so obviously skilled when you watch him play continue to struggle like this for the Coyotes? Is he simply not as good as we all think he is and miscast as a No. 1 defenseman out in Arizona, or is it the losing and non-hockey environment that’s holding him back at this point in his career. Whatever it is, he continues to be a frustrating player that isn’t putting it all together for the Coyotes at both ends of the ice.
It was very clearly a second period turnaround for the Bruins after an okay start where they managed to be tied up entering the first intermission. From there the B’s took over in the second period building confidence and momentum, and eventually scoring three unanswered goals courtesy of Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand that eventually pushed them to victory. To Boston’s credit they didn’t let off the gas pedal in the third period, either, and scored two more goals to finish up strong for a Saturday night win in the desert. Clearly the Bruins aren’t firing on all cylinders right now while missing some players from their lineup, but it was encouraging that they got better as things went along on Saturday.
Brad Marchand was the other half of the dynamic duo that really pushed the Bruins to a breakout moment in the second period, and he ended up with the primary assist on the game-winning goal for Zdeno Chara in front of the Arizona net. Then he added to that with a nifty backhanded top-shelf finish on a breakaway for the insurance marker in the second period as well, which gives Marchand a team-leading three goals scored on the season after four games. Marchand finished with a goal, two points and a plus-3 rating in 17:35 of ice time along with four shots on net, and was one of several important veteran players that stepped up for the Bruins in their moment of need.
BY THE NUMBERS
9 – the game-high number of hits doled out by blue collar Kevan Miller along with four blocked shots in 20:36 of ice time after refusing to tiptoe around following a nasty shot off his right knee in practice on Friday.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Nobody talks about losers. Everybody talks about winners, right? If you win then you’re on the horse, and if you don’t then you’re under it.” – A very colorful Anton Khudobin, on his happiness at getting his first win of the season after making 29 saves against the Coyotes.